Let me vent here a little bit. That 2nd half was ridiculous. This might be the Hawks fan in me talking, but I felt the referees played too big of a part in the result of the game. There were just too many questionable calls not favoring the Hawks way. I just —–let’s stop.
Anyway, even if the calls went the Hawks way in that 2nd half, it probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the game. The Hawks played solid basketball in the first three quarters. The 4th quarter? Horrendous. The offense was just sickening to watch. One play we see Joe dribbling the entire time. The next play we see Jamal tricky dribbling and taking a jumpshot. The next play, we see Al Horford getting double teamed and throwing the ball. Next play, we see Josh Smith go isolation in the post. There just wasn’t any sort of ball movement in the 4th. Too many isolations and too many jumpshots. They went away from the motion-like offense they were running (especially in the 2nd quarter). Execution just wasn’t good enough.
One stat that explains everything. The Hawks scored 12 points in the paint in each of the first 3 quaters, meaning they were heading into the 4th quarter with 36 points in the paint. Pretty good. At the end of the game, they finished with 42 points in the paint. That’s a total of six points in the paint in the 4th quarter. They have got to attack the basket, especially in the 4th quarter when the defense tightens up even more. Shooting jumpshots and playing selfish basketball is playing to the Bulls’ hands. (or hooves).
Give credit to the Chicago Bulls though. Their defense was unbelievable in the 4th quarter. They played tight in the perimeter and they had good help defense in the inside. The 4th quarter defense showed exactly why the Bulls are the #1 defensive team in the NBA.
Also, not only was their defense good in the 4th, their offense executed well. They did exactly the opposite of what the Hawks did, they got good shots and attacked the basket. Heading into the 4th quarter, the Bulls have only scored 32 points in the paint. That is 4 points fewer than the Hawks. By the end of the game, they outscored the Hawks in points in the paint by 8. Meaning, they scored 50 points in the paint in the entire game. Meaning, they got a whopping 18 points inside the paint. Also, if you add all the free throws they got because of the penetration, they scored 22 points. 22 of the 26 points that the Bulls scored in the 4th quarter either came from attacking the basket, from the low post, or from free throws.
I know what you’re thinking -if you’re not, ooops- why am I only talking about the 4th quarter when this is a 4 quarter game… Well, the entire game was won and lost in the 4th. The team that executed better in the last quarter won, simple as that. 4th quarter basically shows how the Bulls won the game and how the Hawks lost the game.
It will be wrong of me to not talk about Jamal Crawford, Joe Johnson, and Al Horford. All three had subpar games.
Looking at the statline, Al did pretty good (12 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 6-13) in the stat sheet, but it just wasn’t the Al Horford that we saw in the regular season. His jumpshot is up and down, his rebounding could be better, and his defense isn’t that noticeable. Horford was an impact player in almost every single game in the regular season, he just isn’t in this series. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Horford is a negative in this series, I just believe he can do better. We’ve seen him before.
Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford on the other hand, probably hurt the team more than they helped the team yesterday. They were a combined 7-26 from the field yesterday. Jamal Crawford was atrocious. I like Jamal because of how he carries himself on and off the floor, but Coach Drew has to substitute him out when he’s not hitting shots, like he was yesterday (1-9 from the field). The only way he can help this Hawks team is by scoring and if he’s struggling to do that, take him out and put in a defensive player(Marvin or Damien) to improve the defense. Now, Joe didn’t perform as badly as Jamal did, but Joe still has to take a lot of the blame just because he has the max money. Fact of the matter is, Joe is getting paid max money, therefore, he has higher expectations than others.
Let me first admit, that I was wrong about my prediction of the outcome of the game. That is 3 times (out of 5) in this series I have been wrong. Looks like my Nostradamus-like skills I had in the first round is gone*.
*I correctly picked all six games correctly. I got which games the Hawks would win or lose all right in the first round.
Anyway, I am feeling good about this Hawks team right now, even after the loss yesterday. If you were to ask me “Can the Hawks win two straight games vs. the Bulls (one at home and one on the road)?” before the playoffs or even before this series started, I would have said no. I think that the Hawks are fully capable of winning Game 6 at home in front of a hopefully raucous Philips Arena crowd. I also think that winning Game 7 on the road is now less improbable. I just like the way this Hawks team is playing right now, and I like how they match up versus this Bulls team.
I’m not going to make a prediction that they will do the improbable and win the series, since I’ve been wrong 3 times out of 5 already, but I will say that it wouldn’t shock me.
Links/Other Notes Worth Mentioning:
- Only 27 out of a possible 159 times has the team that was down 3-2 after losing Game 5, gone on to win the series. To put it in other words, 82% of the time, the team that won Game 5 has gone on to win the series.
- Josh Smith apparently did not record a block according to the boxscore. Ummmm…what?
- Here is the video of Josh Smith & Carlos Boozer incident….
Next game: Game Six is tomorrow in Atlanta (Philips Arena), 8:00 on ESPN. You can buy tickets to the game here. Fill up the building Hawks fans! This team needs the support of the city.